Shampoo Bar Vs Bottled Shampoo – Which Is Best?

Habits can be hard to break. But in an age of climate change, it’s definitely worth considering your plastic waste. So when it comes to shampoo bar vs bottled shampoo –  which is best?

Shampoo Bar Vs Bottled Shampoo

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your plastic waste and contribute to overall lower carbon emissions, as well as using formulas that are more natural and contain fewer chemicals, then shampoo bars are definitely the better choice.

What Is A Shampoo Bar?

A shampoo bar is just as it sounds. It’s a solid, bar-like version of your favorite shampoo.

As they come in solid form, they don’t contain anywhere near the same amount of water as liquid bottled shampoo does.

They are therefore far more concentrated and will last for a longer period of time.

You use a shampoo bar in the way you would soap. Use water from the shower to lather up the bar, and massage this into your scalp and hair, before rinsing and following with a conditioner bar.

Don’t confuse a shampoo bar with bar soap!

Bar soap is not designed for use on your hair, meaning that it will most likely leave behind a residue or scum.

It may also be hard to rinse off your hair in the first place, depending on the kind of water area you live in.

Benefits Of A Shampoo Bar

shampoo bar on a plate

When it comes to evaluating a shampoo bar vs. bottle shampoo, the main benefit that’s always described is the reduction in plastic waste.

And whilst going plastic free should be a real priority, there are actually a number of other benefits to a shampoo bar vs bottled shampoo:

No plastic waste

One of the main reasons that eco-conscious individuals would argue for the continued use of bottled shampoo is because they recycle their bottles.

But did you know that in reality, at least 85% of US plastic waste goes to landfill?

That means that even your best recycling efforts aren’t necessarily as eco-forward as you may hope.

Using a shampoo bar will usually mean that you’re completely plastic-free. They will come in minimal packaging, which may even be biodegradable or compostable, depending on the brand.

Reduced carbon emissions from shipping

In fact, shampoo bars also tend to have a lower carbon footprint than liquid bottled shampoo.

This is because the ingredients in a shampoo bar tend to be natural and less refined or processed than that in liquid shampoo. As such, they all have a lower carbon footprint.

Similarly, because the shampoo doesn’t come in plastic, there’s less manufacturing involved in the bar’s production and packaging.

Shampoo bars are less bulky than bottled shampoo, too, meaning less energy is required for transport.

All of this contributes to shampoo bars having a lower carbon footprint overall when compared to bottled shampoo.

Tend to be natural and cruelty-free ingredients

As detailed, shampoo bars will tend to be made of natural, climate-forward ingredients.

For example, it’s rare to find a shampoo bar that contains palm oil, which some bottled shampoo contains.

Palm oil contributes to deforestation, so it’s really best avoided in all beauty and food items.

A shampoo bar will also typically be biodegradable and made of natural ingredients, avoiding artificial fragrances and chemicals, both of which can irritate people with sensitive skin, as well as wildlife.

What’s more, shampoo bars are also usually cruelty-free and vegan, but you should check this before you buy if it matters to you.

At the least, you know when you use them that they’re less likely to be harmful to marine life when washed away.

Longer lasting

Did you know that bottled shampoo and conditioner are predominantly made up of water – even up to 80%?

As such, your standard shampoo will usually only last for around 30 washes.

However, with a shampoo bar, there’s little to no water content. It’s far more concentrated, which means that it can be used for much longer.

Money saving

Because a shampoo bar is infinitely more concentrated than bottled shampoo, it can also end up saving you serious money.

They tend to be more expensive to purchase in the first instance, but this is because they last for longer and will usually be made of premium, all-natural ingredients.

As such, shampoo bars are overall more cost-effective than bottled shampoo.

Travel friendly

If you’re regularly on the go, using a shampoo bar is so much more convenient than bottled shampoo.

You simply pop your shampoo bar into a portable tin, and off you go. It will take up less space than a bottle and you don’t risk any spillages either.

Benefits Of Bottled Shampoo

two bottles of shampoo on a table surrounded by green leaves and lemons

No adjustment period

It’s not a myth that using a shampoo bar vs. bottled shampoo will take some getting used to. As described already, shampoo bars are more concentrated than bottled shampoo.

Your hair and scalp will have become accustomed to bottled shampoo, meaning that it may take a while to adjust to the new shampoo bar.

Waxy residue

Most shampoo bars have a waxy consistency – particularly when they’re made of all-natural ingredients.

In your first few uses, you may find that this waxy texture sticks to your hair, which may also weigh it down or make it look extra greasy.

Your hair will quickly adjust to the shampoo bar, meaning that you should see a reduction in waxy residue and build-up.

In the meantime, you can also always use an apple cider vinegar rinse to reduce such a build-up.

May experience greater tangles

Typical instructions for shampoo bar use will advise rubbing the shampoo bar directly onto the hair and scalp so as to generate the most lather.

However, for those of us with hair that easily tangles – or for individuals with highly porous or curly hair – this is a nightmare scenario likely to result in excessive knots post-shampoo.

We, therefore, recommend creating a lather in your palms with the shampoo bar instead, so as to avoid the risk of creating tangles and knots through direct application to the hair and scalp.

Shampoo Bar Vs. Bottled Shampoo – Which Is Best? Our Verdict

Although there are initial drawbacks to using a shampoo bar over bottled shampoo, we’d suggest making the switch to the bar.

From reducing your plastic waste and overall carbon footprint to reducing the number of chemical and non-environmentally ingredients, shampoo bars have so many benefits.

Give your hair and scalp the time to adapt to the use of the shampoo bar vs bottled shampoo and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many washes should be in a shampoo bar?

There is no hard and fast rule because it depends on the bar itself and the frequency with which you wash your hair. Expect a shampoo bar to last for around 2-3 bottles of liquid shampoo and around 80 washes.

Can shampoo bars be used daily?

Shampoo bars will typically contain fewer chemicals and more natural ingredients than bottled shampoo. They are therefore safer to use daily than regular liquid shampoo, as they are less likely to dry out your strands.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Alice Carlill

Alice is an experienced writer and researcher with a background in the Creative Arts. She is a published poet and is currently completing her Ph.D., having worked in a variety of industries, including as a theatre dramaturg. Alice is passionate about the environment, so is always on the lookout for the best zero-waste products that are vegan and cruelty-free.